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DVD Review

DVD cover



Starring: William Ash, Christine Bottomley, Claire Keelan, Stuart McQuarrie and Robbie Gee
Optimum Home Entertainment
RRP: £15.99
Certificate: 15
Available 20 July 2009

Zakes and on/off girlfriend Beth are driving along the M1 late at night. It's raining hard and they're both tired and irritable. When a white lorry overtakes them the back slides up and for an instant Zakes catches a glimpse of a naked woman caged and screaming inside. He calls the police on a mobile but the number plate is two dirty to be read. Satisfied that the police will investigate, Zakes pulls into a service station to put up the posters required for his job. Beth is disgusted that Zakes hasn't done more to help the captive woman, and elects to make her own way home. Zakes waits in the car for her to come to her senses, but when he spots the white lorry and a hooded figure, and finds her broken necklace, he realises with horror that Beth has been taken too. He trails the lorry, and what follows is a rollercoaster ride of terror and pain as Zakes determines to recover his girlfriend from a mysterious assailant...

I'm certain I've mentioned before how a film created by a first time writer/director can either be inspirational or insipid; delightful or disastrous. Luckily, this time around it's very much the former. The brains behind this gem is Mark Tonderai, and what's more he's British. The fact that Hush has been nominated for a British Independent Film award, may give you some insight into the standard we're talking about here. There's no doubting that, like the early scenes of Jeepers Creepers, this film owes a debt of gratitude to Duel (written by the great Richard Matheson and directed by a young Steven Spielberg), certainly with the heavy use of the lorry and the faceless driver. In fact, the hooded figure goes a long way to empowering Hush; you can almost see it becoming a franchise (yee, Gods!).

The small handful of characters are the most believable I've seen in some time. Not only do they react realistically to events, they are changed by them. At the forefront of these is Will Ash, whose portrayal of Zakes couldn't be more convincing. There's no compromising here; no making the character fit situations. Everything Zakes does throughout the film is based in truth; no more so than when he chooses not to involve himself directly until his own girlfriend is abducted. A few things in the context of the story are not explained, but that's fine, as a person in Zakes's position wouldn't necessarily learn everything that is going on. They would only be concerned with recovering their loved one. In this respect, it is a long time since a film has intelligently piled on layer upon layer of tension, so that you are literally biting your nails and sitting on the edge of your seat. It's simply wonderful when a film arrives which does this with such flair, because they are so few and far between.

Tonderai so obviously has a talented eye for good drama, suspense and action. The film is tightly edited, with good continuity. In this film he plays cleverly with our nerves. I think we should keep a close eye on his progress in the industry, because judging by Hush, he is already a force to be reckoned with.

There is a nice collection of extras too, with seven featurettes, a commentary, interviews with Mark Tonderai and William Ash, and deleted scenes. Buy it now.


Ty Power

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